Applying for an apartment can be a daunting task for college students moving out of mom and dad’s house for the first time in their lives.
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office is looking to get first-time renters the information they need to make smart decisions about leasing. They released a consumer guide Wednesday on navigating the state’s landlord and tenant laws.
The importance of a guide like this, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said in a news release, is to put all the information on renting apartments in one centralized place, easily accessible to the public.
“Education is the best way to address these types of issues and gives consumers the answers they need,” he said. “Our handy guide contains information on a variety of topics ranging from security deposits to eviction notices.”
The 34-page guide, titled “Guide to Louisiana Landlord and Tenant Laws,” offers information on every step of the renting process, including deposits, leases, maintenance and repairs, improvements, pet deposits and eviction proceedings.
Here are some helpful things to know for first-time renters from the guide:
•The lease can be oral or written. Always keep a copy of the signed lease. It is better to have a written lease as proof of the terms of the contract. If there is no written or oral lease, a month to month lease is legally presumed to exist.
•Some leases contain automatic renewal clauses which can renew a fixed-term lease for another term the length of the original.
•If more than one tenant co-signs the lease, any co-signer may be held responsible for nonpayment of the entire rent, damage or breach of contract.
•Warning signs of housing discrimination can be falsely denying a house is available for rent, changing terms for certain people or employing any type of intimidation to prevent someone from renting a space. If you believe you’ve experienced housing discrimination, contact the Louisiana Attorney General’s Fair Housing Hotline at 1-800-273-5718.
The landlord and tenant guide can be found online here. Free single copies are also available by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 351-4889.